Writing and editing

We found the park!

We were there early, and there were no other children in the park so we ended up being mobbed for photographs. We had to leave at a certain point because Holden couldn’t go down the slide because he was being held mid-slide by a group of 15 adults vying for a picture. But we found the park.

And I went to conference!

Conferences have changed a little. At first, there would be very long pauses, and then a series of shorter pauses in between each topic. I liked those pauses, they were so awkward. We stared at Sharath. He stared at us. No one spoke. And then, almost as if startled from a reverie, Sharath would  begin to chant. The pauses are still there, but they are less pregnant.

David noted he is speaking louder, his tone is a bit more forceful. He sits in a chair now, and not on the corner of the stage. The questions today too, were less provocative, more sincere – which is nice. As you can imagine, with all us crazy know-it-alls, there is almost always someone who needs to monopolize the conference in the most tedious way. But right now, thankfully, no one seems to be up for the challenge.

He still flits from topic to topic. Saying some very poignant things that just kind of breeze by you and as you try to unpack one statement, another one, seemingly unrelated,comes floating up away form you. Other stuff, I feel like I have heard every single conference – but like the practice – I can keep hearing them in new ways. Today when he spoke about Japa meditation, it reminded me of the first conference I went to in Goa when he talked about it. I wasn’t sleeping and I used that technique every single night for the rest of the trip to help me sleep.

This afternoon’s new/old insight, creating steadiness in our minds and bodies with vinyasa and in turn using this steadiness to create a calm mind. He spoke later about learning how to manage ourselves and our thoughts and I immediately thought of my emotional and overwrought reaction to Holden’s school. I wonder if sometimes I am just used to feeling rather stable with this practice, that when I am clearly not stable – I imagine something is dreadfully, horribly wrong. I mean, the school was nice, it isn’t Syria or anything – just not the right fit perhaps – no reason to feel totally victimized. It is interesting how easily I can be thrown off track. I still have a long way to go, which is fine.

The complete conference notes from a competent person who doesn’t make everything about themselves are here.

categories: baby, Mysore
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Today we went to the Mall of Mysore. It is a mall. In Mysore. Not a guy with a bunch of buckets on a cart. A mall. With no one in it. But we got a booster chair for Holden so he can see what he is eating at the table. And I rode the escalator up and down, up and down, up and down. We spent an hour and a half riding the escalators with Holden. I ride an escalator with Holden every day in Toronto to get to work, but I guess the Indian ones are different. He had fun – which means I was relieved, but run off my feet.

Then it was noodle soup and off to see Sharath for conference. Conference was great – here are some notes (I’m a bit jetlagged so I hope I’m not missing anything):

There was a banana and half a granola bar in my purse. Then Franklin the turtle had a homework assignment and he couldn’t figure out what his favourite place in his neighbourhood was – I won’t spoil the ending. A couple dogs walked by. Some rocks are  small. Those are baby rocks. And some rocks are too big to carry around. Shoes came off, shoes were put back on. Dogs. Rocks. Monkeys? Monkeys? No monkeys.

Ok really, I think I heard something about handstands before Holden booted out the door and I spent the next hour chasing him up and down the street.

This was actually taken during conference – so it can give you a bit of texture when you are reading a decent Mysore blog.

I almost don’t want to write about this in case I jinks myself horribly, but Holden is sleeping. He went to bed last night at the usual time – but 10.5 hours ahead in India – and he slept until 8a this morning. He had a nice nap at the usual time and I put him to bed at the regular time tonight. Soooo, he got over jetlag in one afternoon. I am considering writing a book. Although I suppose I should hold off until he actually sleeps through the night tonight.

So, back on track. I held uth pluthi in led class on Sunday. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Saraswathi in her nightgown. I was expecting Sharath to do the chant and then disappear into his office to load up on tiger videos, but he stayed and, of course, taught a great class.

In conference yesterday, Sharath spoke about bandhas. Particularly, about holding mula bandha all the time – walking, resting, eating. “Contracting your anus.” he called it. When I am hauling the baby around, I catch myself arching my lower back and sticking out my belly. I have to work on remembering to hold mula bandha – I actually think it is a really important technique in order to protect your back in parenthood. I think I lift my pelvic floor rather than contract my anus, so clearly I have some work to do.

There was lots of anus talk at conference and it made everyone giggle, which is kinda grade 7 and funny. Someone asked if mula bandha was located beside the anus.

Sharath: No, contract the anus.

Someone asked if it was different for women.

Sharath: It is all anus.

Yeah, and I suppose being pre-occupied with contracting your anus would keep you out of trouble.

For me, it is all digestion. Ultimately that has a lot to do with anuses, but I am pretty obsessed with good digestion. Not that I always have it. But I believe it leads to happiness or at the very least contentment. That is inner peace for me. This trip, my digestion has been (knock on wood) pretty rad because we never really eat out. Eating out is so tempting here because the food is quite incredible, it cost a dollar for a full meal, and the set up for making food at home is similar to a college dorm. There are two pots, two burners,  three forks and a couple of spoons. My kitchen screams Kraft Dinner. Anyway, I have muddled through (minus the Kraft Dinner).

Speaking of eating, I’m not sure if everyone caught Adrienne’s link a couple blogs ago:

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Return of the slow loris!

Ok. So I did a little poll a while ago, and it turns out no one wants to hear about sleep deprivation. And I totally get it. Most people don’t sleep as much as they should/want to. Before I became a mom, I certainly had bouts of staring at the ceiling for hours trying to count myself to sleep. Ever since Holden was born, when non-parents tell me they didn’t sleep – my first instinct is to say, “But no one was FORCING you to stay up!” Parenthood is really good for curing insomnia. Well, until they learn how to drive.

Sleep is my current obsession. I guess everyone is different. Holden has many amazing qualities. But being a good sleeper is not one of them. We are working on helping him sleep through the night. Last night we made it with only two wake-ups which I don’t think I have had in months. It was good. And sad that it was good.

When I meet parents of babies – I always ask, “How is the sleeping”. And sometimes they just sort-of shrug and say, ‘Oh, well he/she sleeps 12 hours at night.” And I feel murderous rage and go over the variables. Is it the breastfeeding? sleeping with us? the bed? the moon? the teething? too much food? too little food? the never-ending practice crawling?

Today we met the parents of a 6 year-old. David asked, “How is the sleeping?” She laughed. “What sleeping?” My first reaction, because I am so nice, was “Ha! they have it worse!” But then upon reflection, I realize: “Oh my god. That could be me in 5 years.”

I might have to be institutionalized.

That is the other thing about parenthood. It makes you really respect your parents. There is nothing quite like watching the sun come up and realizing, with horror, that a) you spent most of the night trying unsuccessfully to get someone to sleep and b) in the morning it won’t just be you and the baby and you won’t feel like a complete psycho.

So, that is where I am at. It is totally not exciting or interesting or unusual. Thank you for indulging me!

The Part Where I Write About Ashtanga

On Sunday, we had conference and Sharath spoke about drishti. He told us, when in doubt, use nasagrai (tio of your nose) drishti. Nasagrai is really my least favourite focusing point because it makes me feel cross-eyed and funny. Since I am filled with doubt I practiced with his advice in mind. Wow. I got over the nerdy feeling pretty quickly and it made my practice really different. I am a believer.

Also in conference:

Young Man: Sharath, do you have to believe in God to practice Ashtanga?

Sharath: (baffled slightly) Yes. Why else are you here?

Huzzah! That’s what I’m talking about!

Today we watched this incredibly cute video of victims of human trafficking learning Ashtanga Yoga made by the great people at Yoga Stops Traffick. We were there last year in Mysore, and this year we hope to do something at AYCT. Enjoy!

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Yesterday was conference with Sharath.  He spoke briefly and generally about the sastras of Ashtanga Vinysasa Yoga and he was asked a few of the usual questions: Why is uth pluthi so long? (mind control/suck it up) How many days can I take off on my period? (three) Can I close my eyes? (nope!). Then we watched the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Foundation movie, which I have now seen three times. I was hot and the room smelled like varnish. I like conference, though. Especially, when Sharath chants or discusses the sastras. I can’t help it, I like the rules.

I did my first mysore practice today. Everything felt great, and no one knocked me over during my dropbacks – an irrational fear of mine since I found out I was pregnant. I bound in Supta Kurmasana for the first time in a week (my belly gets in the way of the second leg going into my clumsy dwi pada). Sharath assisted me in backbending and he told me to do my own paschimottanasana instead of giving me a squish.

We visted Shiva for the third time in as many days, hoping to find an apartment. Shiva was a rickshaw driver, who networked his way into being the Godfather of the Shala student gringos. He has a long grey bread, wears bright orange exclusively, talks slowly and methodically, and is permanently stoned. For the past three days, he looks at us and shakes his head, “So many students, everyone wants something different. Hard to keep track.” David suggested he get an agenda. Shiva watched him with big red eyes. Maybe not.

Shiva owns two pugs, Maggie and Apu. Apu enjoys rolling about in his basket and chewing his leash.

pug in a basketAnd eating the fence he is tied to.

pug-eatingI love pugs, but those two make me miss Dolly.

apu the pug

I think we found an apartment today. They are getting a fridge and a stove put in, and the place needs to be cleaned. The landlord is great, his two-year-old son is a muppet head and is in love with David. They have a generator and a roof top patio. We should be settled in by Thursday, but I feel that might be pushing it. We are reserved at the hotel until Saturday just in case. I can’t wait to have a stove again. The kettle miso soup was amazing this morning, but I would love to start making some brown rice.

south indian thali

We had South Indian thali for lunch today, and it didn’t make us comatose for the next 5 hours. it came with beans, great soup and some pickle. I ate the whole thing with my right hand. Yum!